Why We Still Need To Talk About Woody Allen

by Robyn Smith

Last week, Ronan Farrow, son of famous director and alleged child molester Woody Allen, published a letter in The Hollywood Reporter discussing how the media avoid the hard questions, dodging what may limit their access to other celebrities through Allen’s PR representation.

“Being in the media as my sister’s story made headlines, and Woody Allen’s PR engine revved into action, gave me a window into just how potent the pressure can be to take the easy way out,” Farrow writes in the Reporter column. “Every day, colleagues at news organizations forwarded me the emails blasted out by Allen’s powerful publicist, who had years earlier orchestrated a robust publicity campaign to validate my father’s sexual relationship with another one of my siblings.”

Though Farrow’s column is just the most recent of over two decades of allegations against the director, it’s worth talking about, even today, because Allen keeps making movies. He gets to keep his fame, fortune, and career, and if it were anyone else being accused, he/she/ze would’ve lost everything back in 1992 like Allen should have.

So the conversation can’t end until Allen’s career does. When justice is served and we’re all celebrating his imprisonment, we will move on. But until then, we need to keep talking about how disgusting Allen is, because everyone else is lauding him.

While Farrow’s letter highlights one side of the conflict that hasn’t yet been brought to light by the media (how ironic), it definitely isn’t the first time that Allen’s been put into the spotlight for his sketchy past. In 1992, Vanity Fair published an expose that showed the world the Allen it was never supposed to see. New evidence and anecdotes from close friends and relatives of Mia Farrow and Allen were included and testimonies from babysitters showed that there was a lot going on beneath the surface of the perfect Farrow-Allen family and its subsequent destructive breakup.

“One summer day in Connecticut, when Dylan was four and Woody was applying suntan lotion to her nude body, he alarmed Mia’s mother, actress Maureen O’Sullivan, and sister Tisa Farrow when he began rubbing his finger in the crack between her buttocks,” writes Maureen Orth, who has since been accused of favoring Mia Farrow.

The Vanity Fair article was just one of the most well-known — around the time of its publication, many other media outlets blasted Allen as a child molester and the case was sure to go through. But because Mia wanted to protect her daughter Dylan Farrow, who was only seven years old at the time, the charges against Allen were dropped despite the prosecutor’s alleged probable cause.

Allen married another one of Mia’s daughters, Soon-Yi Previn, in 1997 and they’ve been together ever since. They began their affair when Previn was just out of high school, and according to multiple reports, when she was barely 18. Farrow allegedly discovered their affair when she found nude photos of her daughter in Allen’s apartment.

In February 2014, the New York Times published a haunting firsthand account of Dylan’s experiences:

“He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl, that this was our secret, promising that we’d go to Paris and I’d be a star in his movies,” Dylan writes.

To which Allen published this response a week later:

“Not that I doubt Dylan hasn’t come to believe she’s been molested, but if from the age of 7 a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who abused her, is it so inconceivable that after many years of this indoctrination the image of me Mia wanted to establish had taken root?” Allen says.

Though Allen will continue to deny allegations of child molestation, the question remains: How far is too far when it comes to celebrity immunization? If they make cinema classics, if they work with our favorite stars, are Hollywood predators like Allen above the law?

The answer will be final when justice is finally served.

photo courtesy of Raffi Asdourian

More from BUST

Bill Cosby Accusers Are Unrapeable, Says Damon Wayans. WTF?!

Why We Won’t Be Watching The New Woody Allen Movie

Why Dylan Farrow’s Open Letter About Woody Allen Is So Important


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